We Heart Harry

Hogwarts is back in session


Call us nerdy. We don't care. Make annoying comments in the style of a fellow staffer whose name rhymes with Shablonsky: "You read that shit? Um, hello, you're an adult." Yeah, so what? We're nerds, we're bookworms and we're obsessed with a particular strain of young adult lit. We're Harry Potter devotees. We did, in fact, apply the temporary lightning bolt tattoo (not to our foreheads, but in the rocker inner-forearm location, thanks) readers will be receiving at midnight release parties the city over. We have eaten the dirt-, bacon- and vomit-flavored Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans--which means that, yes, we purchased them. (Readers can check those out along with chocolate frogs and butter beer at most release events.) We cried when Sirius was pulled into the dark place and got totally irritated with Cho Chang when she freaked out on that date with Harry. All of these things amount to a fairly dorky existence for someone near 30, but that didn't stop us from pre-ordering Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince more than a month ago. And we're not alone, seeing as how Amazon.com lists J.K. Rowling's sixth book of the Potter series as No. 1 on the Top Sellers list--and that's prior to publication. We are alone, however, when it comes to the lack of fans in our office, as we've gotten comments like "Hey, geek, did you get Harry and the Culturally Divergent Prince yet? Oh, wait, I meant Harry and the Mixed-Heritage Royal. My mistake. That J.K. Rowling's not real politically correct is she, four-eyes?" Hey, who said people mature past fifth grade? So Friday we'll head to any area Barnes & Noble, Borders or Waldenbooks (and many other bookstores) and join the throngs of Hogwarts-loving folks ranging from single-digit ages to seniors. We may have already ordered our book, but we're not about to miss out on readings, contests and the sight of cars driving away, the backseats lit with flashlights as kids can't even wait to get home to start the book. Hell, that visual can make any writer well up with tears. Book sales will begin at midnight. Each store has varied celebration plans, so call first for start times and details. --Merritt Martin

Finding Faith

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It was not so long ago that I discovered a strange aspect in my learning ability: While I could quote most of The Breakfast Club, I could tell you diddly squat about, say, ancient history; while Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was as accessible as the alphabet, things like historical figures and key dates lay beneath a murky sea of bad memory and poor attention span. The solution to this is obvious: Make a teen movie about all of history starring Keanu Reeves. But while we wait for Scorsese to tackle that, consider another lesson--how helpful film can be as a teaching device. So those finding themselves a wee deficient in Islamic history (also known as: everybody) might do well to take note of the Kimbell Art Museum's summer film series, running in conjunction with the exhibition Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art From the Victoria and Albert Museum. The three-part documentary Islam, Empire of Faith premieres July 17 with The Messenger, chronicling the life and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. Using large-scale re-enactments along with contemporary and archival footage, the film portrays how Islam spread over the first century following its emergence. Did John Hughes direct it? Sadly, no. But the movie is free--and educational. The Kimbell is at 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth. Call 817-332-8451 or visit www.kimbellart.org. --Sarah Hepola

Be a Cow, Man


Maybe we're just city slickers, but when we hear about a "nationally recognized holiday" called Cow Appreciation Day, we can't help but call horse patooties. That skepticism only grows stronger when the holiday is touted by fast-food chain Chick-fil-A. Who's to say it's not just another gimmick to fit into the company's ever-popular "Eat Mor Chikin" advertising campaign? Turns out, however, that the "inventor" of the chicken sandwich is on to something. For more than a decade, American dairy farms have posted their udder-loving flags on July 15 to celebrate all things cow. Granted, the farms' efforts don't exactly constitute Hindu-like reverence to the source of milk, meat and leather, but at least those groups actually deal with cows on a daily basis. Chick-fil-A, on the other hand, is just using the day as an excuse to make people look stupid. On Friday, the chain will give out free combo meals--breakfast, lunch or dinner--to anyone dressed up in a cow suit. Hungry and shameless? Then saddle up, cowboys and cowgirls. Visit www.chick-fil-a.com. --Sam Machkovech

Two by Two


In the '50s, movie studio execs kinda got nervous when television gained more and more popularity. What about films? What about the thrill of sitting on the edge of a theater seat with a bag of popcorn in your hand, just ready to jump when the "scary" part comes? That's when 3-D movies returned to the scene after quite a long hiatus. Of course, these days movie hotshots don't have to worry about television stealing their audience, but the appeal of 3-D still lives on. Just look at The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. For all you die-hards, the 2005 National Stereoscopic Association Convention and Trade Show comes to town through July 18 at the Harvey Hotel DFW Airport to celebrate 3-D photography and film. There will be a reception at the opening of the exhibit Two X Two: The Stanford and McLaurin Stereograph Collections at Southern Methodist University, a trade show, workshops and a nine-hour sightseeing bus tour that includes lunch and tourist attractions. Registration for the convention is $60; individual events tickets are available. Visit 2005.nsa3d.org or call 214-265-8555. --Jenice Johnson

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